Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 27

Thread: help choosing portrait lens?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    29

    Question help choosing portrait lens?

    I know this type of question has been asked quite a bit, I've been searching and reading but still having a hard time getting a clear idea in my head. Hoping some of you wouldn't mind helping me try and sort it out.

    Shooting 4x5 (Toyo 45E). I have a Nikkor W 210mm f/5.6, want to try something more "vintage", around 240mm f/4.5. I'd like to have a shutter with sync port for strobes.

    I've read the article on the main page and the Heliar sounds appealing, but above 210 seems to be only barrel (or barrel adapted to a shutter). I've found out about the Packard shutters (never heard of them till I started researching this), that's an option but would prefer something more convenient if possible (though being able to use the Packard with a variety of barrel lenses might be nice for future flexibility.

    This also lead me to the question of aperture. As I understand it, part of the appeal of the Heliar is the round aperture achieved with a high number of curved blades. The aperture is obviously implemented in the barrel lens, but what about the lenses that are normally mounted in a shutter? Is the aperture part of the lens or part of the shutter? If I find one in a shutter, how can I be assured that it will have the same round aperture as the barrel version?

    Tessars seem to be another option in the realm of what I'm looking for, though I've read they have a more abrupt transition to OOF whereas the Heliar is more gentle, I thought this would make the Heliar a little more appealing to me.

    Hope that's enough information to get some useful feedback. Appreciate your thoughts.

  2. #2
    Foamer
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    1,755

    Re: help choosing portrait lens?

    My favorites, in order: 150mm heliar, 240mm Dagor, 165mm Tessar. On 5x7 it's 300mm Velostigmat. All uncoated of course. The Velostigmat is a very underrated portrait lens and performs a lot t like a wide open Tessar. Add those to your short list.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  3. #3
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Stuck inside of Tucson with the Eastern Seaboard Blues again...
    Posts
    5,689

    Re: help choosing portrait lens?

    The Velostigmat Series II is a fast (f/4.5) Tessar. I'd recommend a 9.5-inch with the soft focus uncorked. For use with strobes, either a Packard shutter, or look for one in a Betax and switch the elements to the more modern Alphax shutter. The 9.5-inch Raptar would be the same lens, but coated and without the soft-focus option.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Santa Barbara
    Posts
    1,361

    Re: help choosing portrait lens?

    get the heliar..you will not be disappointed... I've seen them in shutters too

    I shoot a 240 and 300 (in shutter) on my 5x7...never a bad rendition!

  5. #5

    Re: help choosing portrait lens?

    Kent and Mark mention the Velostigmat. I love my Series II with the soft focus control. It's 12" and I've currently got it on the front of a 4x5 Graflex SLR. Great for portraits, as well as still life.

  6. #6
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    5,221

    Re: help choosing portrait lens?

    You won't go wrong with a tessar or heliar in shutter. The Copal 3/3s shutter and similar (Shanel) have plenty of nice blades for a pleasing background. There are currently some Fujinar 210mm f4.5 on the ebay right now and if the shutters are OK, they will be awesome value lens for portraits.

  7. #7
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Fond du Lac, WI, USA
    Posts
    7,021

    Re: help choosing portrait lens?

    A 254mm Ilex Paragon is a fine lens. Two came on a Keith Camera Twin Lens 4x5 I once had.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

  8. #8
    William Whitaker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    the Southern Part of Heaven
    Posts
    1,286

    Re: help choosing portrait lens?

    For a lens mounted in a shutter, the aperture or iris is part of the shutter. For an idea about what makes a good portrait lens, take a look at the ongoing portrait thread on this forum. And don't shy away from an old Tessar. They're great old lenses. And wonderful for portraits.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    La Quinta, CA
    Posts
    423

    Re: help choosing portrait lens?

    This all depends on what image look you are going after - sharp and higher contrast (from newer lenses) or the more "dreamy vintage" softer focus look (from typically older barrel type lenses). There is a wide variety of looks you can get. I have schneiders for super sharp images and also some barrel, meniscus, and petzvals for softer looks. What area in San Diego are you at. I'm in Carlsbad nearly every week if you want to get together and see some examples.

    Dan

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    29

    Re: help choosing portrait lens?

    Thanks for all the replies. I found a Heliar in a Compound shutter online that looks pretty nice, may spring for that. Would put a bit of a dent in the bank account but it's the only one I've found longer than 210mm that isn't a barrel lens.

    The other suggestions are interesting too. I tend not to favor shorter focal lengths but may try something out since they're more affordable and could be a good experience.

    Dan, I'm in Rancho Penasquitos, about 30 min from Carlsbad (in light traffic). Do you use your barrel lenses with a shutter of some sort?

Similar Threads

  1. I really need help choosing the best lens
    By Ron Spencer in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 6-Jun-2011, 06:12
  2. Choosing Lens
    By ThePenguin in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 10-Mar-2011, 20:41
  3. choosing lens between 400 and 500mm
    By Janko Belaj in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 23-Nov-2006, 10:18
  4. Choosing a Macro lens
    By Anthony_4033 in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 6-Mar-2004, 11:47
  5. help in choosing 135mm lens
    By mo in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 3-Nov-2003, 13:57

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •